TOKYO – Taro Aso, Japan’s gaffe machine of a finance minister, irked the political establishment a year ago this week by calling the 2020 Olympics “cursed.”
It turned out that Aso was more correct than he could have ever known as the Tokyo Games is now set to start without foreign spectators, and for the same reason, no real economic boost.
Even the best-case scenario means the loss of a cool US$23 billion, according to Kansai University’s Katsuhiro Miyamoto. Furthermore, Tokyo is on the hook for untold tens of billions of dollars lavished on infrastructure and other upgrades for an Olympics that has already been delayed by a year amid the battle against the coronavirus.
And a worst-case scenario cannot be ruled out – that the event, set for July, does not take place as fast-vaccinating Europe sees a possible third wave and Covid-19 variants head Japan’s way.